One of the most exciting stages of building a new website is the design creation phase. Though it’s easy to spin together a website in WordPress, it’s important to first create a wireframe and use a dedicated tool to create a mockup of your website and achieve a high-fidelity (thorough and detailed) design. Websites today are subject to a high degree of judgement and in a matter of seconds can influence perceptions of credibility. The Journal of Behaviour & Information Technology states that, before users interact with your website, they will look at your website and make a judgement about it in 50 milliseconds (that is 0.05 seconds). A user will decide whether a website loads quickly enough, is updated, useful and secure based on their first impression. That is why the design stage of website building, and creating an effective mockup of your website is one of the most essential.
What is a website mockup?
While a wireframe represents a rough design of your website (like a sketch on a back of a napkin), a mockup of a website is a high level visual representation of your website. It will allow you to make final decisions regarding branding and how your product will be represented on your site, such as color schemes and typography. A mockup of a website will allow you to experiment with visual elements while taking into consideration user feedback. Here are a few mockup tools you can try.
Adobe XD is an app created for UI and UX designers to create a high-fidelity mockup of a website, as well as wireframes, prototypes and artboards. Adobe XD is a free application that is geared toward UI and UX design, allowing you to add buttons, logos and forms to your site. Key features include artboards, design frames for the web and mobile devices, and elements, such as linked logos across multiple designs.
Moqups is a web-based design tool that can help you build wireframes, mockups, and prototypes for free. It allows you to navigate between different projects and move from low fidelity (rough sketches) to high-fidelity designs. The editor is very user friendly and you can create a mockup using any object from the rich collection of objects. The sidebar offers pre-made templates, that you can drag and drop onto the drawing board. If you’ve ever worked with any graphic design tools, this one won’t be tough to pick up. Key features include diagrams, flowcharts, drag and drop elements and icon sets.
Figma is a powerful cloud-based alternative to XD and Moqups. At an affordable price, Figma provides you with many helpful features whether you're a stand-alone designer or are working with a team. Figma stands out in allowing teams to collaborate. Multiple team members can log in and access design files at the same time to tweak and add content, making it easy to create mockups of websites. Key features include artboards, shapes and text, and a Layers panel on the left.
Mockups are great way to get all your ideas down before you come up with the perfect design for your website. It is much easier to design multiple mockups in a mockup tool than to attempt them on your website later. Though the tools mentioned aren’t as versatile as Photoshop, they are simple to use and allow you to create high-fidelity wireframes and mockups of websites for free or for a small fee.
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